The government maintained inadequate protection efforts. Authorities continued to use guidance provided by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MJSP) for all federal, state, and local governments on victim identification and assistance, but the government did not report updating the guidance to reflect provisions of the 2016 trafficking law or making efforts to proactively train officials on its use. The MJSP maintained 12 posts at airports and bus stations known as transit points for victims to identify cases. Law 13.344 mandated the government provide victims with temporary shelter, legal, social, and health assistance, and protection against re-victimization. Seventeen of 27 state governments continued to operate state-level anti-trafficking offices (NETPs) that refer victims to social assistance centers for victims of sexual abuse, exploitation, domestic violence, and trafficking. NETPs in some of the wealthier states in the country had effective assistance and coordination teams that comprised police officers, prosecutors, and mental health professionals, whereas other state offices were not well funded or equipped to assist victims.
Several government agencies at various levels provided data on victim identification, totaling 98 victims in 2018, compared with 116 in 2017. In 2018, three of the 27 NETPs reported identifying 30 victims and assisting nine (22 of “labor exploitation for prostitution,” three for “sexual exploitation,” two for forced labor, one for “criminal activity,” and two unspecified). Two other NETPs reported identifying four victims of sex trafficking and 64 victims of trabalho escravo, compared with 10 sex trafficking victims and 101 trabalho escravo victims identified and assisted across seven states during the first half of 2017. The government did not report how many were victims of trafficking as defined in international law or what services it provided. MTE officials identified 1,113 potential victims of trabalho escravo—some of whom may be victims of trafficking—compared with 1,104 in 2017. Specialized MTE divisions provided victims of forced labor with job training services, three months of unemployment pay, and limited counseling services. The MTE and Ministry of Social Development continued to provide trabalho escravo victims access to public services by including the victims in the registry for social programs, granting them priority access to a cash transfer program, unemployment insurance, subsidized housing, a discount on energy bills, and technical assistance—all implemented at municipal-level centers for social assistance. The government did not report the number of victims who received assistance through the MTE. In addition, the MTE reported identifying 1,409 children working in violation of minimum working age laws, some of whom may be trafficking victims.
The federal government did not fund specialized or long-term shelters for trafficking victims, and general victim services and shelters varied in quality from state to state. Some states placed victims in shelters for victims of domestic violence, migrants, or the homeless. States did not have specialized shelters for child sex trafficking victims, and guardianship councils often did not have the expertise or resources to identify child victims correctly and refer them to services. The state of Sao Paulo maintained a shelter where female victims and their children could receive health benefits, education, food, and housing for three to six months; another shelter in Sao Paulo provided temporary assistance for refugees and trafficking victims. The government did not report how many victims stayed at either shelter. NETPs referred victims of sex trafficking to social assistance centers (CREAS) where psychologists and social workers could assist vulnerable individuals; approximately 38 percent of centers nationwide had certification to assist victims of trafficking. The government did not report how many victims authorities assisted through the centers in 2018. Authorities did not refer victims of trabalho escravo to CREAS for assistance and victims remained vulnerable to re-trafficking due to inconsistent access to assistance; however, some state governments sought to address this issue by offering vocational training. The state governments in Mato Grosso, Ceara, and Bahia offered vocational training to victims of trabalho escravo.
The government had measures to encourage victims to testify in the case against their traffickers, including allowing remote live video testimony. However, authorities have never reported using these measures for trafficking cases. Observers continued to express concern about the under-reporting of trafficking crimes, attributing it in part to victims’ lack of awareness of protection services and fear that filing complaints will lead to further exploitation, deportation, or other harm. Foreign trafficking victims were entitled to permanent visa status, but for the third consecutive year authorities did not report how many victims received it. The government could assist repatriated victims of trafficking but did not report assisting victims, compared with 24 victims in 2017. During the reporting period, authorities reported two-thirds of the victims owed compensation in the Fazenda Brasil Verde case had been compensated.